Friday, August 3, 2012

The Move: The Packing

I've got two words:  It's awful.

We were supposed to leave this Monday.  But that got moved to last Friday.  Then Thursday came along, and I about had a nervous breakdown, so we pushed out to leaving Saturday.  (That meant we were leaving two days earlier than planned, which hecktotheyes is better than three days earlier than planned!) 

Our plan was to take as much of our "stuff" as possible in the trailer, leaving behind our appliances and furniture and whatever non-essential "stuff" didn't fit.  So, for example, the kids' roller coaster* for the backyard stayed put.  My books (and let me tell you, I have a lot) stayed put.  Our clothes and kitchen and living room all came along.  Many of my craft supplies came -- the stuff I intend to work on this month -- but not nearly all of them.  That kind of thing.  I finally got to force Mick to address his "piles of @#%$^#*!" issue, because I was adamantly not moving boxes of unknown piles yet again.  (The count in our relationship so far has been eight moves.  Twelve years together, eight moves, not including temporary housing in NC for a year.  I had to put my foot down with Mr. Unlabeled-Junk-In-A-Box.  I am all for having boxes of stuff you want to keep but don't need to have "out," like my childhood mementos and his Marine Corps uniforms.  We're American, we have "stuff."  But he had accumulated more than this Monica Gellar could handle.  Seventy-thousand tubs all clearly labeled and organized?  No prob.  Ten tubs of hod-podge junk that you have no idea what you have or why you have it?  Gotta go, schmo.  Gotta go!  Fortunately, he agreed -- he just hadn't ever forced the issue.  What with moving cross-country, the issue was, at long last, forced.  Score one for the Type A wife!)

It was tricky, as you know, because the kids' toys were packed.  They had to come.  (Yes, yes, yes, the toys and the kids.  C'mon now!)  The big playroom toys, though -- the kitchen, washer/dryer, rocking horse, all that stuff -- did not come. 

Anyway, somewhere along the way, this is what our house looked like:

Don't kid yourself.  See those open cupboards?  This is before I packed the kitchen.  These boxes, in fact, merely hold the contents of the pantry. 

With little hands, it's inevitable that you'll find stray toys as you pack.  We kept this on the pantry door so that all the strays were at least in one place. Theoretically we'll unpack one day in Maine, and these guys can find their lost friends.  I did tell them all, though, that they were not in a "trash" bag.  Toy Story 3 has me all superstitious like that.

I hate packing kitchens.  I have packed enough to say this uncategorically.  I hate it.

I seriously think Mick made about 95 runs to Home Depot.  30 boxes at a time, we packed ... or more accurately, he built the boxes, and I packed. 

(Why 30 at a time? Because I kept thinking "surely this will be more than enough... just get about 30.")

Side note -- Speaking of building boxes, let's talk about packing tape, okay?  As expensive as a car.  It was actually cheaper for us to renew our Costco membership and buy the tape there than it was to buy it at WalMart or Home Depot.  Seriously. Even after factoring in the $55 membership, we still SAVED money on tape.  Really.  I want to own 3M one day.  Or at least, a boatload of 3M stock!

Why Home Depot?  Well, let me explain. Because what we did is kind-of cool and if anyone is moving anytime soon, you might benefit from this as well.

Kroger runs a promo with its Kroger-Plus cards where you get "fuel points" for every dollar you spend at Kroger.  Typically, you get one fuel point per dollar spent at Kroger, but all summer long, gift cards were either double or quadruple points.  Every 100 points you accumulate gives you 10 cents off per gallon when you purchase gas (or diesel) at Kroger.  So, we would go spend $100 on Home Depot cards, and when the points were quadrupled, that translated into getting 40-cents off per gallon of gas.

Mick always keeps 40 extra gallons in the back of his truck on long trips.  This saves us in an emergency, but also at least for a little while, saves us money on gas -- it's as much as 50-cents a gallon more expensive up North than down by us in Georgia.  Factor in the discount, and that's a 90-cent swing!  When you're filling up a 35-gallon tank, that's not insubstantial.   If nothing else, it buys a family sit-down meal on the road.

But it gets better:  Mick would take the Home Depot cards and go buy boxes, but he also got to use his veteran's/military discount at Home Depot.  That meant we were getting the boxes 10% off and the gas -- well, one time we had so many fuel points that we saved $1 per gallon!

I know that to some of you it sounds silly, but it was free money, and it was no more difficult than going straight to Home Depot, since our local Kroger is on the way to our Home Depot.  If you're going to buy boxes anyway, why not buy them where you can save on both the boxes and gas?

Okay, kids.  This is what it looked like to pack.  That was our box-buying strategy.  And it sets the schedule.  We were supposed to leave Friday, but decided instead to leave Saturday.  Stay tuned for more ... as always, when we travel, it's not without adventure!


 * Yes, they have a roller coaster.  Check out a photo here.  It was a surprise gift from my sister.  You should have seen my face when the UPS person delivered all five humongous boxes of it.  Nevermind that, I wish I'd videotaped the UPS person's face as they wheeled it into our garage, huffing and grumbling while I kept saying "what on God's green earth ..."


  1. I'm so sorry for all the stress. But you're right. Free money is the BEST.

    1. Thank you. I know I need to put on my big-girl britches, but sometimes I just vent. So, thanks for bearing with me and reading along! I've never moved cross-country before (or at least, "permanently;" we moved to NH from GA once, but it was temporary and we didn't have to empty our house) and it's daunting. I'm not the first person to do it; it's just the first time I'VE done it! And heck yes, I am ALL ABOUT free money. Not in a crazy tv-show kind of way, mind you.